There Are Only Three “Shoulds”

When you feel like you’ve lost your way, like everything is foggy, like you don’t know who to be or how to be, there is one verse you can grab out of your pocket and hold onto as your guide. I just love it and in times when life feels messy, my faith is being rocked, a relationship is challenging my flesh, or my attitude is bending places I know it shouldn’t, I allow these words to be my mantra.

Micah 6:8 says “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

I love that God boils down all our “shoulds” in life into just 3 things. This brings a simplicity to my faith and how I live it that is freeing. The Bible says there are 3 things required of us. There aren’t 1 trillion. We kind of feel a lot in life like we can’t keep up with all the demands and expectations and here God just lays it out pretty plainly..

Act Justly.

Wow! Talk about a measuring stick for our actions and decisions in a day. If I just ask myself at the end of the day “Did you act justly when you dealt with that tenant? Did you act justly when you coached those kids? Did you act justly when you talked about the one girl not at the cocktail party? Did you act justly when you logged your miles? Did you act justly when you made a decision without the people the decision would affect?”

Acting justly is acting fairly and honestly. At the end of the day, it is a great practice to check in with yourself and ask “Did you carry yourself in a way that was fair and honest?” This is such a great requirement on God’s part. Though acting fairly and honestly often requires sacrifice and sometimes a willingness to go against the crowd, though it might mean you lose so someone else can win, though it might mean you get less and someone else gets more, you can sleep well at night knowing you have indeed lived out the kind of character God requires of your life. And there’s no better peace pill than that.

I don’t know about you but the people I respect most in life are the people who live with integrity, act with honesty and care for others fairly in all their dealings. I am so glad that God sees this as such an important virtue in relationships that He makes it one of His main requirements for our lives. May we act justly in how we vote, voting not just for ourselves but for others. May we act justly in how we go about business, doing business not just for profit, but for people. May we act justly in how we neighbor, looking to be a good neighbor, not just have one. May we act justly in our finances, not just looking to benefit self, but benefit others. May we act justly as Christ models justice.

Love mercy.

Mercy can be defined as “compassionate treatment of those in distress.” This compassion does not just feel but it acts on what it feels. We are a people God calls to act on the compassion we feel for those in distress…not just pray, not just pity, not just smile, not just hope. Mercy requires action. You and I are faced with people who are distressed every day. Mercy walks into other people’s distress and does something to help them. And not only are we called to be a people who are merciful, but a people who actually love it. May we be a people who love to bless the man on the corner that we once so often wrote off. May we be a people who love processing pain with our friend who’s in a super needy season. May we be a people who ecstatically say “sign me up!” to move the single woman who has no help to move on her own.

Let’s lean into being a people who don’t show mercy because somehow God obligates us to, but may we begin to choose moments that we get to live into this beautiful mercy because we know just how much we love experiencing mercy and how much greater, to be able to share it.

When we see another in distress may we be the kind of people that live to lend a hand, live to uplift, live to give back, live to bless, live to sacrifice. May we be people who other people will talk about behind our back and might they say “Wow, they just seem like they love helping, serving, and blessing others.” May we be the kind of people who can’t end our day without thinking back to all the wins we witnessed where mercy collided with distress and mercy won, mercy brought relief, mercy brought a healing touch, mercy brought hope. May our days find us loving mercy more and more, emulating Jesus’ mercy toward us by bestowing it to each other.

“This compassion does not just feel but it acts on what it feels. We are a people God calls to act on the compassion we feel for those in distress…not just pray, not just pity, not just smile, not just hope. Mercy requires action.”

Walk humbly.

You know when you feel insecure or feel like you have something you need to prove? You know that feeling when you are walking into a room feeling sheepish and you’re kind of doing that “fake it ‘til you make it” thing? I think this is why some people walk with a swagger. The swagger is a cover up. It’s also why some people do all the talking. It’s why some are so wrapped up in image so they have automatic status in every room they walk into. It’s why some always have to be right. It’s why others one up you on everything. They have the better connections, they have the fancier car, they have the more impressive job title, they have the sadder sob story, whatever it is – theirs is better. All this trying to prove, impress, and convince, we can lay that to rest. We can stop playing those games. God doesn’t want us to get wrapped up in that kind of behavior. He calls us to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly.

Humility is a lost art. I love the way Webster defines humility. It’s “freedom from pride or arrogance.” You don’t need to look confident or sure, certain or right. You don’t have to have it all together. You don’t need to get a lot of likes on Insta and you can leave the house without makeup. You don’t need everything to match and you can burn toast. You don’t need to have all the answers and you don’t need to have the best resume. You don’t need to be the prettiest, funniest, most successful. You can just be you and be freed up to allow others to be them.

This posture is freeing. Walking humbly frees you to allow other people to shine. Humility frees you to let other people win. Humility frees you to have bad hair days and halitosis. Humility frees you to have doubt and faith. Humility frees you to be loved and accepted as you are not as you thought you had to be. Humility frees you to not have to be so caught up in yourself. It frees you from thinking you are the main character in the story. It frees you from having to be the superhero. It frees you from holding in secrets because you’re sure people can’t handle your truth. Humility frees you to stop showering in pride and instead invites you to bathe in grace. What an invitation God hands us to walk humbly. Let us say yes.

Friend, you and I have been through a lot this year and it has become very easy to lose our way in moments or entirely. May we hold these 3 simple things within our reach; act justly, love mercy, walk humbly. And may we be able to extend justice, mercy and humility because we first experience it in Jesus.

Keep colliding.

-Willow

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